How to win municipal and state political elections with direct mail

By: EmMa Matern

July 4, 2024


In the spring, we had the opportunity to work with a client on their primary campaign for a state-level office. Collaborating closely with the outreach team, we curated a direct mail campaign that aimed to connect with voters on a personal level. Over the month, we executed multiple mailings, each carefully crafted with handwritten details to add a personal touch. This approach was designed to stand out in the crowded field of campaign materials and make a memorable impression on recipients. The response from voters was overwhelmingly positive, demonstrating the power of a personal connection in voter engagement.

As a result of this successful campaign strategy, our client handily won the election, showcasing the significant impact of handwritten direct mail.

Key Topics

1. How our client won their primary
2. Why was this campaign strategy successful?
3. The psychological impact of handwritten notes

1. How our client won their primary

The campaign team made the strategic decision to fill mailboxes close to voting days. This approach aimed to keep the candidate’s message fresh in voters’ minds as election day neared. To achieve this, they sent out mailings back-to-back.

The first mailing included a handwritten letter as an introduction to the candidate. The goal of the mailing was to establish a connection with voters. The second mailing featured  another handwritten notecard and literature diving a little bit deeper into the candidate’s background. As each successive mailing included more information, the accompanying handwritten note also got increasingly personal. This consistent method proved highly effective!

Each piece in these mailings was slightly personalized based on donor segmentation. This ensured that the content was relevant and engaging for each recipient. The campaign received lots of great feedback, including high web traffic, unsolicited donations, and messages from people expressing their love for the mailings. Many voters also provided feedback that they had voted for the candidate, which was encouraging for the campaign team.

This customized direct mail strategy established grounds for a more receptive experience while canvassing door-to-door. Voters were more open and responsive, having already felt a connection to the candidate. Overall, the campaign team found this strategy highly rewarding and effective.

2. Why was this campaign strategy successful?

  1. Timeliness: Sending mail close to voting days kept the candidate’s message fresh in voters’ minds, increasing the likelihood of the candidate being top-of-mind when voters made their decisions.
  2. Personalization: Handwritten letters and notecards added a personal touch, making voters feel valued and connected to the candidate. Personalizing the content based on demographic information ensured relevance and engagement.
  3. Consistency: The back-to-back mailings created a consistent presence, reinforcing the candidate’s message and plans through multiple touchpoints.
  4. Action-Oriented Content: The newsletters with detailed policies and proposals provided voters with specific strategies and information, making the campaign’s goals clear and actionable.
  5. Enhanced Canvassing: The personalized mailings primed voters for more receptive experiences while canvassing, making them more open and responsive to further campaign efforts.
  6. Voter Connection: Many voters reported that they voted for the candidate because of the personal connection they felt through the mailings, demonstrating the effectiveness of the personalized communication strategy.

3. The Psychological Impact of Handwritten Notes

Handwritten communication feels personal and intimate, as it suggests that the sender has invested time and effort specifically for the recipient. This psychological effect can significantly enhance the recipient’s emotional connection to the sender, which, in the context of a political campaign, translates to a stronger bond between the voter and the candidate.

Handwritten notes also convey a sense of authenticity and sincerity. In a world where automated messages and mass-produced materials are the norm, a handwritten note stands out as genuine and heartfelt. This authenticity can foster trust and loyalty, critical components in swaying voter opinion and encouraging electoral support. Research in consumer behaviour has shown that people are more likely to respond positively to personalized, handwritten messages because they trigger a sense of appreciation and value.

The act of opening an envelope, unfolding a letter, and reading handwritten text engages multiple senses, making the experience more immersive and impactful. This multi-sensory engagement helps the recipient to remember the message longer and with greater clarity, which is particularly advantageous in the context of political campaigns where candidates need to remain highly memorable for voters.

To learn more about voter behaviour, check out our blog The Impact of Direct Mail on Voter Behaviour.


The campaign team’s strategic approach of timely, personalized mailings proved to be a winning formula. By delivering consistent, relevant content right before election day, they managed to keep the candidate’s message at the forefront of voters’ minds. The handwritten touches and demographic-based personalization created a strong connection with recipients, leading to positive feedback, increased web traffic, unsolicited donations, and an overall receptive environment. This plan secured many votes through the power of personal engagement and attention to detail.

Our team of direct mail and political campaign experts curate campaigns that connect with voters and reach your target audience. Get in touch today to collab!

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